The Cooks Islands’ national Independence celebrations Te Maeva Nui are coming up at the end of July. This is considered one of the most important events in the Cook Islands, an annual celebration of self rule granted by New Zealand in 1965. Te Maeva translates as “the major or most important celebration”.
Every year, dancers and performers from Rarotonga and the outer islands gather at the National Auditorium in Rarotonga to present dances, songs, drum beats and costumes expressing the cultural theme chosen for that particular year.
Groups from the 15 outer islands, such as Manahiki, Pukapuka, Penrhyn, Suwarrow, Aitutaki, and Mangaia, also sell crafts and produce from their home on Island Trade Days throughout the festival.
This year’s Te Maeva Nui celebration is themed ‘Te Rakei Tupuna o Toku Matakeinanga’ translated ‘The Costumes of our Communities & Tribes’. The week will be celebrated with an International night, featuring entertainment from the different nations living in the Cook Islands, a choir competition, performances and Island days – all showcasing the Cook Island’s culture.
This year’s festival kicks off on Monday 28th July, starting with the Te Maeva Nui Float Parade through Avarua. All the floats will be judged on creativity, ingenuity, and overall presentation. This is to be followed by an official opening ceremony at Punanga Nui markets by the Prime Minister.
This will be a fantastic week for tourists on Rarotonga, providing truly authentic cultural experiences with pageantry and fun. There will be many opportunities to try some delicacies and witness some fantastic cultural performances that will showcase the many different faces of the 15 Islands that make up the Cook Islands.
The draft programme for the rest of the week can be found here on the Cook Islands Tourism Website.